What is 'Next' in Next-gen ERP?

Posted by Tom Martin on November 29, 2018

Our team has traveled the globe implementing Master Data Governance (MDG) solutions, providing expert consultation in Master Data Management (MDM) and supporting some of the world’s largest companies with our proven methodology and accelerators as they migrate to new systems. 

As we speak with our customers, analysts, R&D teams and industry thought leaders, we are continually assessing where Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is headed. Fueled by our industry discussions and pulse on the market, we see six big trends that will affect ERP in 2019 and beyond.

Focus on Real-Time Decision Making

Data can be daunting. However, if we can use our data to maintain situational awareness and create actionable intelligence, we can remove uncertainty, dispel fears and thrive in this era. More so than ever before, business leaders are finding competitive advantages in being able to make dynamic, by-the-moment decisions to optimize their operations, supply chains and financial transactions. From utility companies uncovering hidden margins with Smart Grids, to manufacturing organizations spotting sales influxes that affect their supply chains and outputs, both front-line management as well as executive leadership are being tasked with utilizing their systems to remain nimble, proactive and profitable.  

Globalization and Mobility

We’ve all heard the phrase, “business is changing.” Well, it certainly is. We are in the age of globalization and companies are quickly scrambling to secure their footholds in emerging markets. As companies enter these new markets, their back-end systems need to be able to meet the regulatory, trade and currency demands of operating in new geographies with global supply chains. We will observe new releases to existing ERP’s place a much greater emphasis on out-of-the-box functionality to meet the needs of a truly global economy. As companies race to reach all corners of the globe, so to is their workforce. The emphasis on mobility and app-enabled solutions has, and will continue, to grow. We will continue to see a focus on UI/UX as ERP providers work to ensure their solutions are accessible and functional with the tap of a finger. 

Consumerization of IT

For the first time in modern history, we are seeing a paradigm shift in the working style demands of those entering and taking on leadership roles in today’s workforce.  The workforce demands interfaces that are functional, clean and presented in a way that their favorite social media and retail sites have made them accustomed to. The UX, ease of use and flexibility are the critical to winning the user adoption and usage wars. We can look to our partners at SAP in how they have revolutionized procurement with Ariba and its modern, user-friendly interface.

Business Intelligence and Visualization

Many organizations know the value of actionable intelligence, but to use your data, you must be able to see it. Alongside their front-line users, management and executive leadership demand ease of use, but even more so, they need visibility. It is important to note that the demand is not for a siloed perspective, it is for end-to-end value chain transparency. Effective visualization tools and dashboards allow leaders to maintain a round-the-clock perspective on all aspects of the business, and perhaps even more importantly, how those various business units and departments are operating in harmony. We’ve now entered an era where this is not merely a competitive advantage, it is a fiduciary duty that operating boards and shareholders are mandating. We expect to see much greater out-of-the-box functionality with business intelligence and visualization solution sets. Preconfigured dashboards for each level of leadership with role-based views is the new norm.

Integration, Flexibility and Cloud

While the big players in the global ERP industry will continue to maintain their footholds, we expect to see a continued fragmentation of ERP systems. As third party horizontally-focused solutions become increasingly more mainstream, we will see companies grapple with the question of single-source fully integrated systems, or a piece mailing of various solutions and flavors of the month. ERP’s will continue to ramp-up their cloud solutions sets and will build in mechanisms for integration to leading third-party solutions. ERP providers are quickly learning that they may end up sacrificing market share if they don’t embrace the value of and affinity for, solutions specific to various components of their value chain.

 The AI Opportunity

Perhaps the single greatest growing trend in 2019 will be the role and integration of Artificial Intelligence. Utilizing AI and machine learning as part of an IoT enable organization will be paramount. Manufacturing, utility, chemical, oil & gas and retail industries are quickly embracing the value of a connected workplace and smart AI powered analytics. As we get smarter with our data, our systems will also in turn get smarter. Smarter systems allow us to gain the efficiencies and 360-degree perspective that automation affords. The c-suite of the future will rely less on spreadsheets or gut-feels, and instead will be more tech enabled controllers of their own systems. They will be technically versed to the extent they will be effectively manipulating their tools and technologies to maintain vigilance, ensure the efficacy of their automated processes and drive real-time decision making.

As Utopia looks to the future and aligning our customer’s needs with the market’s expectations, we are ready to roll out new and exciting technologies that aid in helping organizations and consumers alike, achieve their big 2019 priorities.

Topics: ERP